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- Holiday Safety | Tampa Bay Law Firm
- What to Look for in a Bankruptcy Attorney
- Pulled over? Know your rights! | Criminal Defense
- Tampa Traffic Proves Fatal for Pedestrian
- Motorcycle Safety | Personal Injury
- Florida’s Domestic Violence Laws Explained
- Personal Injury Lawyers are Exposed to New Market, Thanks to New Drone Law
- New Crosswalks | Pedestrian Safety | USF
- Florida state officials aim to strengthen texting while driving law
- Back to School | Safety Tips
- Filing Bankruptcy | Chapter 7 vs 13
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When confronted by police, people often become nervous because they are unsure if they may be in violation of some ordinance or law. The difference between merely being detained by police and arrested creates different limitations to your rights. It is important to understand what you can do. Police may stop you, and it is not considered an arrest if you are just briefly detained.
In the event you are stopped for questioning, it is important to remain calm, be polite, keep your hands visible at all times, and do not attempt to flee. You do have the right to remain silent, however, it is best to identify yourself first and then notify the officer that you are exercising your right to silence.
If you are unsure of the situation, you can ask the officer why you have been detained and if you are under arrest. If at that time you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave. If the officer proceeds to arrest you, you have the right to speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney.
An arrest occurs only upon a determination of “probable cause”, this means the officer must have more than just a “suspicion”, the officer must have a “reasonable belief” that you committed a crime. Once the arrest is made, an officer can lawfully conduct a search incident to arrest of your person for weapons, evidence, and contraband. At this point, the officer can hold you in jail for up to 24 hours, or until a warrant is issued for the charges.
Anytime you are stopped and arrested it is important to quickly consult a Criminal Attorney regarding your rights and advice on what you should do. If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, or even issued a citation for a traffic violation, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840 to schedule an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer. Think quick, call Blick!
Everyday Florida drivers get behind the wheel unaware that their driving privilege has been suspended, cancelled, or revoked. Law enforcement officers make daily arrests for driving with a suspended license which can lead to complications when trying to reinstate your driving privilege.
In Florida, it is a criminal traffic offense if a driver operates a motor vehicle with knowledge that their driver’s license is cancelled, suspended, or revoked. The following charges may result from Driving with a Suspended License with knowledge of the suspension:
(1) First conviction is a second degree misdemeanor;
(2) Second conviction is a first degree misdemeanor;
(3) Third, or subsequent conviction, is a third degree felony and possible jail time may have to be served.
It is important to know that multiple infractions of Driving with a Suspended License can lead to very serious consequences, and drivers with repeated violations can become listed as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
The penalty of driving with your license suspended, whether you have knowledge or not, can be serious and generally lead to complications with your future driving privilege.
If you or a loved one have been arrested or issued a citation for driving with a suspended license, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer.
When considering Bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 filing is a useful way to discharge of most debt and can relieve the burden of creditor collection attempts. However, many times a debtor has equity in a home or property and would like to file for Bankruptcy but not surrender their home. In these cases, a debtor can reaffirm the debt for the particular property they would like to maintain and keep making the payments, or file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy which allows the debtor to reorganize the debt into a consolidated and more manageable payment.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy gives the debtor an opportunity to manage their debt over a period of 3 to 5 years and still maintain the rights to both exempt and non-exempt property. This is particularly useful when the debtor has a large amount of equity in the home or property. Chapter 13 also helps by reducing payments on debts that cannot be discharged by Chapter 7, such as Student Loans; additionally, Chapter 13 helps avoid wage garnishment, delays the foreclosure process on the home, protects co-signers, and allows for an overall extension on the repayment term of most debts.
However, the decision to declare Bankruptcy also comes with consequences. The disadvantages of filing Chapter 13 include:
- Credit reports will show a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing for 7 years
- The debtor will receive high interest rates on future credit
- The debtor will have a strict budget in place in order to ensure the reorganized debt payments
- Legal representation fees tend to be higher, plus added court costs
Often times, people considering filing Bankruptcy are unsure of what documentation is required, how long the process takes, and what the Bankruptcy process entails. When a debtor seeks to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, they must first satisfy the requirements of the means test to determine their eligibility for a Chapter 7 filing. After determining eligibility, the debtor will then be required to provide a number of documents to the Bankruptcy Court for the Trustee’s review. This required information includes recent bank statements, pay stubs, creditor information, and specific information regarding the debtor’s assets and finances.
Upon compiling all of the necessary information, a voluntary petition for Bankruptcy is completed and filed for the debtor, whereby the Bankruptcy Court then schedules the Meeting of Creditors, or 341 Hearing as commonly referred to. The Meeting of Creditors is an informal questioning under oath of the debtor for the purpose of ensuring that the debtor fairly and honestly represented their assets, income, and debts in the filed bankruptcy petition. The Trustee appointed to the debtor’s case asks a series of questions under oath concerning the debtor’s property and financial situation. Upon completion of the Meeting of Creditors and Bankruptcy Filing Course Requirements, a debtor will have successfully completed the Bankruptcy process.
The entire process is usually completed within four months, and the debtor then receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts. This dischargeable debt includes credit card debt, old medical bills, utilities bills, unsecured loans, pay day loans, and most other types of unsecured debt. The advantage to filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that your unsecured debt is completely eliminated, the process is fairly quick, and the automatic stay that takes place after filing prohibits creditors from making collection efforts.
It is important to be aware that while Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may ultimately relieve a debtor of the burden of insurmountable unsecured debt, it is a process that requires the production of several documents and tedious preparation. The more prepared the debtor is, the more seamless the process becomes.
No matter what your situation is, obtaining quality legal consultation from an experienced bankruptcy attorney is beneficial. Contact Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer to assess what option is best for you. Think quick, call Blick!
Every day, Florida Law Enforcement Officers seek out impaired drivers and make arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Most Florida Drivers are unaware of the severity of the charge, often times misunderstand the penalties that can arise as a result of receiving a DUI, and are usually unsure of what to do in the event they are pulled over for suspicion of DUI.
In Florida, a blood alcohol level of .08 or more constitutes alcohol impairment beyond the legal limit. However, a police officer may still arrest you for a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) if they suspect that your normal faculties are impaired while operating a motor vehicle. Having a BAC under a .08 will increase your chances of overcoming the DUI conviction, but you may still be arrested and endure several hassles that go along with combating a DUI charge.
Police officers will pull drivers over for a number of traffic offenses, even minor ones, and initiate immediate conversation to determine the potential impairment of the driver. To assess the physical signs of impairment, Police will be looking for the ability to maintain eye contact, slurred speech, the smell of alcohol on a driver’s breath, or bloodshot eyes.
Know that your behavior once you are pulled over is being scrutinized immediately, especially when pulled over late in the evening or after leaving a bar. Therefore, being polite, answering questions respectfully, and not making legal arguments is in your best interest.
While it is your right to not answer any questions without a lawyer present, not doing so will certainly raise the officer’s suspicion and they will likely investigate further. It is wise to answer questions vaguely and avoid delving into specifics, including any amount of alcohol you have consumed, or that you just left a party, bar, or football game.
If the Police are suspicious, they will tell you to exit the vehicle, and you must. However, you may refuse to submit to any sobriety tests conducted. Even if you think you can pass the sobriety exercises, it is likely in your best interest to politely refuse because the officer determines whether you passed based solely on their own judgment. Know that you always have the right to contact an attorney before you submit to any test.
If you are charged with DUI, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately! Call Blick Law Firm today at 813-931-0840. Make an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer to determine what your options are moving forward.
Bankruptcy is a complex area of law and involves many considerations, including whether to file, determining which type of Bankruptcy to file, the use of exemptions, understanding the protections of the Bankruptcy Code and using them to your advantage. While individuals are allowed to file Bankruptcy without the use of an attorney (commonly referred to as pro se), it is strongly discouraged by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Bankruptcy is a difficult process with very technical issues, and individuals are discouraged from attempting to file on their own because they could put themselves in jeopardy by not undertaking the proper steps or simply failing to compile all of the necessary information. If certain technical requirements for Bankruptcy are not satisfied properly, a debtor could be precluded from filing Bankruptcy altogether, may lose the right to file again, and may lose protections in a later case, including the benefit of the automatic stay.
The Bankruptcy Judge can also deny the discharge of all debts if a debtor does something dishonest in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as destroying or hiding property, falsifying records, or lying. Debtors should also consider that Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly audited to determine the accuracy, truthfulness, and completeness of the information that the debtor is required to provide.
A competent Bankruptcy attorney will ensure that the process is undertaken properly and that all necessary information is accounted for in order to successfully receive a proper Bankruptcy discharge.
If you are having trouble meeting your debt obligations, consult an experienced Tampa Bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.